Skin Care

How to Get Through The First Three Months – Retin-A

No More Dry, Peeling Skin

So I am 48, and have been using Retin-A for three years. I have suffered the dry skin, the flaking, the irritation. Every bit of the horrible stuff that goes with this amazing anti-aging cream.

But I’m over it. I have to say this it took me a while to find a routine that truly worked to stop the peeling, dry, irritated skin. I almost gave up, but I am not a giver-upperer as a rule, so I persevered in my quest for a routine that allowed all of the amazing benefits you get from Retin-A but without all the undesirable effects.

The Benefits of Using Retin-A

Retin-A, otherwise known as tretinoin, improves skin texture, thickens the skin over time, encourages fresh collagen production, improves fine lines and deeper wrinkles, lifts eyelids. Yep, it really does all of these things 🙂 I didn’t have huge expectations, it has to be said, but I had some hope that my skin would improve and that Retin-A might slow the ageing process. I’m not generally a patient person, but I knew that I was in this for long haul. Tretinoin does not make you look ten years younger overnight!

Products You Will Need in Your Bathroom to Stop The Retin-Uglies in Their Tracks

  • CBD Oil/Baby oil
  • Hydrating cream or serum
  • Nivea Cream (deep moisturising)
  • Mineral SPF

Is That All?

Yes, not so bad is it? None of the above will break the bank, but all used together in conjunction with your Retin-A will save your sanity.

Prepare Your Skin Before You Start

If you haven’t used Retin-A before then prepare it with retinol. This will make sure that your skin is accustomed (a little) and will cut down on the redness and soreness that often occurs when you first start using Retin-A.

Start Slowly

If you don’t start slow, you’ll stress your skin out so much that it will rebel to the max and it won’t be pretty!

Start off applying a pea size amount of the cream every three days or so. Use a 0.025%. Don’t jump in with 1%. This will have a serious impact on your skin and not in a positive way. It will put you off of using Retin-A as all you will see is the horrible effects and none of the good ones.

I am up to 1% strength now but I went from 0.025% then up to 0.05% and lastly up to 1% when I knew that my skin could cope with it.

I’d suggest that you mix it with a moisturiser at first too. Anything that is kind to your skin will help.

How to Apply Retin-A at Night

  • Apply your oil
  • Apply a hydrating cream or serum
  • Apply your Retin-A
  • Apply your deep moisturiser

My Anti-Aging Results

Retin-A results
The texture of my skin has changed significantly
Three Years After Retin-A

Using Retin-A Under Your Eyes

You can use Retin-A around your eyes. Lots of people will say not to as the skin is quite thin here, but I have not had an issue. In fact, my under eye area is where I have seen the most improvement. My fine lines have all but disappeared.

Apply a CBD oil first by dabbing it around the under eye area and then press a tiny amount of your Retin-A around the under eye and let it dry before applying a light moisturiser.

It’s All About Moisture

Oils and hydrators are what it’s all about. Retin-A side effects are fairly easily combatted when you know this and use them every day, even on your Retin-A free days.

It’s a good idea to have 1-2 days off per week. I like to use glycolic on my Retin-A free days.


I can’t stress enough how important it is to exfoliate your skin when you are using Retin-A. You need to remove that dead skin that’s sitting on the surface. Be gentle though. I love using some soft brown sugar mixed with olive oil or coconut oil. Using a glycolic acid or a peel every few weeks will improve the look of your skin along-side Retin-A as tretinoin is not really an exfoliant even though some people refer to is as such. The glycolic acid will remove the dead skin cells, making your skin clear and glowy rather than dry and desert like!

When Will I See Results?

It will take at least six months before you start to see a real difference in your skin. The thing is that you will only notice how horrible your skin feels for the first three months. Even if there are improvements, you probably won’t appreciate them. You may begin to notice a change in skin texture at 12 weeks, but that’s about it when it comes to anti-aging results. Fine lines, you will notice disappearing after 6-8 months, and deeper lines will soften at around 18 months.

Skin firmness and elasticity will show improvement at around the 2 year mark.

My Thoughts On Using Retin-A For Anti-Aging

Embarking on a journey with Retin-A in a bid to hold back the years is not for the faint hearted and it’s not a quick fix. Far from it.

It is irritating, flaking and drying. You will probably feel like giving up at times, indeed many women do give up. Often though, they end up regretting packing it in and start the cycle all over again, going through all of the same trials and tribulations.

My experience over the last three years allows me to tell you that you WILL see results, but they will come over time. I have heard it said that Retin-A is a long term partner, not a one night stand. I think this is a very good analogy. I’ve never been a fan of the one night stand in any case.

retin-a 3 year results
My Naked Skin at 48
And With Make-up!

Disclaimer: I am not a professional. Any tips here are given from my own experience and not medical advice.